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Posts Tagged ‘David Feldman’

HERO repeal petition lawsuit set for January

There will be no HERO repeal referendum on the ballot this year, but depending on how the trial (and likely appeal) goes, there could be one next year. Opponents of Houston’s equal rights ordinance dropped their request for a temporary injunction Friday that could have triggered a process to set a repeal referendum this November. […]

The case against tossing the HERO repeal petitions

Jerad Najvar makes a constitutional argument that the city of Houston should have accepted the HERO repeal petitions even though many of the petition pages fell short of the requirements laid out in the city charter. While we lack clarity as to exact numbers, it appears that given a blatant constitutional infirmity with part of […]

HERO repeal hopefuls try another venue

Whatever. Conservative opponents of Houston’s equal rights ordinance have asked an appeals court to force the city secretary to certify the signatures on their petitions to force a repeal referendum on the November ballot. Equal rights ordinance critics filed a request late Monday with Houston’s 14th Court of Appeals for an emergency writ of mandamus […]

HERO repeal lawsuit moves back to state court

Are we dizzy yet? Conservative activists seeking to repeal the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance trumpeted a small victory Thursday when a court hearing resulted in the ordinance being suspended pending an Aug. 15 hearing. Mayor Annise Parker, anticipating a lawsuit, had already said she would not enforce the ordinance until there was more legal clarity, […]

HERO repeal lawsuit moved to federal court

And the bad guys are very unhappy about it. Conservative activists seeking to repeal Houston’s equal rights ordinance accused the city of stalling the issue Wednesday after city lawyers moved the opponents’ lawsuit over rejected ballot petitions from state to federal court. Opponents blasted the move, calling it a delay tactic aimed at keeping the […]

Decision on validity of HERO-repeal petitions coming today

Get ready for the fireworks. City of Houston officials plan to announce Monday whether a petition submitted by opponents of the city’s new nondiscrimination ordinance contains enough valid signatures to force a vote on repealing the measure this November. Opponents claimed to have gathered and verified 31,000 names, but City Attorney David Feldman said Friday […]

HERO repeal petitions announcement today

Today’s the day we find out what happens. The city’s controversial HERO ordinance prohibits discrimination based on federally recognized groups such as race and age, but also extends those rights to sexual orientation and gender identity. Opponents of the ordinance led a petition drive to bring the issue to a public vote. It now appears […]

Council votes to sue over bad pension projections

Game on. Houston City Council on Wednesday paved the way for city attorneys to sue an actuarial firm the city claims gave inaccurate pension estimates that spurred costly changes to firefighters’ retirement benefits in 2001. [...] Houston’s contribution rate to the fire pension skyrocketed soon after the changes were approved, despite an actuarial report from […]

Another pension-related lawsuit coming?

Here’s a little blast from the past. The city of Houston may sue a company whose advice it relied upon in making changes to firefighters’ retirement benefits in 2001, saying the firm’s inaccurate predictions left the city on the hook for pensions it cannot afford. Houston’s contribution rate to the firefighters pension skyrocketed soon after […]

Houston’s payday lending ordinance is now in place

Part of me hopes that there’s a lot of complaints, and part of me hopes there’s very few. Houston’s stringent new rules on payday and auto title lenders took effect Tuesday, reviving industry complaints that it would drive companies out of business, or at least out of the city, but giving borrowers a clearer path […]

Competition is good, except when it isn’t

I honestly don’t get this. As the Houston City Council prepares to vote Wednesday on whether to make its longtime back-tax collector share the lucrative work with a rival, city officials are getting ample pushback from the man responsible for collecting the taxes. Harris County Tax Assessor-Collector Mike Sullivan is not the only one opposed […]

Post HERO, watch for the petition drives

Here’s the full Chron story about the passage of the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance. I’m going to skip ahead in the story and focus on what the haters are saying and planning to do. Opponent Dave Welch, of the Houston Area Pastors Council, said his group will begin gathering signatures against the ordinance to trigger […]

NDO vote will be next week

The proposed non-discrimination ordinance was on Council’s agenda yesterday, but it did not come to a vote as it was tagged, which means it’ll be voted on next week. The Chron’s preview story gave some insight into what we should expect from the ordinance based on the experience of other cities that already have protections […]

Council hears NDO testimony

It went about as you’d expect. Houston is the last of America’s largest cities not to have local anti-discrimination protections, a fact some lauded and others condemned Wednesday during the first opportunity for public comment on Mayor Annise Parker’s proposed equal rights ordinance. Parker is poised to place the ordinance before City Council for a […]

City asks court to let Ashby Highrise be built

Interesting. The city on Friday asked a judge to let the Ashby high-rise project go forward after seven years of wrangling and a recent jury verdict in favor of nearby residents who oppose the 21-story tower planned for 1717 Bissonnet. City Attorney David Feldman said halting construction of a project that satisfied the regulations in […]

Firefighters union ratifies no-brownout agreement

Good. Members of the Houston firefighters’ union have signed off on a deal with Mayor Annise Parker that would prevent pulling firetrucks from service to help balance the Fire Department’s budget. “We’re very pleased that the union membership ratified the agreement,” Houston City Attorney David M. Feldman said in a statement released Friday. Now that […]

City to Uber: Enough with the emails already

So this happened. The battle over Houston’s taxi rules moved Thursday from the streets to cyberspace, reflecting ongoing tension between an aggressive newcomer and a city government determined to proceed cautiously. Thousands of email messages urging elected leaders to allow the ridesharing service Uber into Houston slowed city servers and led City Attorney David Feldman […]

Firefighters union sues city to block cutbacks

Not sure about this. Houston firefighters went to court Tuesday in an effort to block the city from removing personnel, trucks and ambulances from service. But a judge rejected their argument that the “rolling brownouts” plan violates the union’s collective bargaining agreement with the city. State District Judge Elaine Palmer turned down the request for […]

Audit letters

There’s a thing called audit letters that I hadn’t known existed. We’ve got them for Houston, but we had not been making them public even though other cities do as a matter of course. Houston officials have blocked the release of letters detailing weaknesses in the city’s financial accounting even though other large Texas cities […]

City sues HFRRF again

From the inbox: In the face of growing concern about its ability to meet long-term retiree pension obligations, the City of Houston filed a lawsuit today against the Houston Firefighters’ Relief and Retirement Fund (HFRRF), one of three pension systems covering City employees. The lawsuit seeks to enable the City to have the same input […]

Why not three?

Greg suggests a couple of tweaks to term limits. » Fix the JoJo exclusion. The statute, as written, is amazingly short and simple: Section 6a. – Limitation of terms. No person, who has already served two full terms, shall be eligible to file for that same office. The statute is also amazingly unequal in how […]

City moves anti-same sex spouse benefits lawsuit to federal court

Interesting. Mayor Annise Parker and the city of Houston have moved a lawsuit challenging same-sex benefits out of Republican Judge Lisa Millard’s court after she allegedly halted the benefits without giving the city proper notice. City Attorney David Feldman filed a “Notice of Removal” on Friday saying the lawsuit belongs in U.S. district court instead […]

More on the local GOP’s lawsuit against same sex spouse insurance benefits

Family Court? What’s up with that? City Attorney Dave Feldman said Wednesday that the city of Houston and Mayor Annise Parker were not given notice before a family district court judge halted a recent policy change extending health and life insurance benefits to city employees in same-sex marriages. “I’m not even sure how this ended […]

More reactions to the city’s settlement with the strip clubs

Not everyone likes it. Bob Sanborn, CEO of the nonprofit organization Children at Risk, and other advocates against human trafficking said on Wednesday that they should have been consulted before a deal was struck. Mayor Annise Parker, who brokered the agreement, said it ended a lengthy lawsuit and gives the city more funds to fight […]

Harris County GOP sues over same sex spouse benefits for city employees

When Mayor Parker announced that legally married same sex spouses would be eligible to be added to city employees’ health insurance plans, I was certain that there would be legal action taken against that decision. The Harris County GOP has now supplied the legal action. The city of Houston’s recent policy change extending health and […]

Enforcing a new payday loan ordinance

Mayor Parker’s proposed payday lending ordinance will be up before Council today, though it might wind up being delayed until the new Council is sworn in. It’s not clear yet how the vote might go, but in the meantime it’s worth pondering what the enforcement mechanism for this new law would be. Other cities that […]

Is CM-elect Stardig term limited or not?

I brought this up yesterday in my wrapup of the city and HCC runoffs, and I’m asking it again here in the hope that someone who can provide a definitive answer will offer one. The question I have is whether or not CM Brenda Stardig is eligible to run for re-election in 2015. As I […]

Runoff results: Rough day for incumbents

I have no complaint about the results. With all precincts reporting, controversial first-term council incumbents Helena Brown, in northwest Houston’s District A, and Andrew C. Burks Jr., in At-Large Position 2, fell to their challengers, as did HCC trustees Yolanda Navarro Flores and Herlinda Garcia. Brown lost her rematch with Brenda Stardig, the incumbent she […]

The Dome’s status is complicated

Is it a landmark or not? If so, what kind? Mayor Annise Parker this week called an effort by the city historical commission to designate the Harris County-owned Astrodome a city landmark “ill-advised,” and said she had no plans to put the item before City Council for approval. The Houston Archaeological and Historical Commission on […]

Evaluating the strip club settlement

Some interesting feedback on the city’s recent legal settlement with area strip clubs. South Texas College of Law professor Matthew Festa said the payments are not his central concern, noting cities often condition building permits on a business planting trees or building sidewalks. Festa said the deal presents a separation of powers issue, however, in […]

Council hears the Mayor’s payday lending ordinance

Reaction was mixed, though it appears likely there is enough support to pass. The proposed ordinance would limit payday loans to 20 percent of a borrower’s gross monthly income and auto title loans to 3 percent of the borrower’s gross annual income or 70 percent of the car’s value, whichever is less. Single-payment payday loans […]

More on the Mayor’s payday lending ordinance

From the Chron story on Mayor Parker’s proposed payday lending ordinance, which is described as having been toughened up from an earlier proposal: Consumer groups had called [City Attorney David] Feldman’s compromise proposal too weak; he said he preferred tougher restrictions but said those were unlikely to pass the Legislature, would invite a lawsuit, and […]

Mayor Parker announces same sex spousal benefits for city employees

Mayor Parker had been talking recently about a more comprehensive non-discrimination ordinance for Houston and possibly revisiting the 2001 charter amendment that forbids the city from offering domestic partner benefits. I knew something would be coming, but I didn’t expect this. The city of Houston will offer health and life insurance benefits to all spouses […]

Wage theft ordinance back before Council

It should be up for discussion this week. “Wage theft is defined as a situation in which someone employs someone to perform a service, not intending to pay them wages. That’s an extreme offense,” [City Attorney David] Feldman said. “The city has an interest in knowing if that type of conduct is taking place under […]